Growing up in St-Eustache, Quebec, Joe always dreamt of being a commercial fisherman until deciding to make his dream a reality in 2018 by leaving his home to travel west. Arriving in Prince Rupert with zero fishing experience, Joe got his start as a deckhand in arguably the most labour-intensive fishery on BC’s North Coast: fishing Dungeness crab on the notoriously rough waters of the Hecate Strait.
How long have you been commercial fishing?
What other fisheries are you involved in?
I have also worked on a deep-sea trawler. It’s completely different work and allowed me to do a scientific charter in the Arctic! It was the experience of a lifetime.
What do you love about being a commercial fisherman?
What I love about commercial fishing is that, for me, it’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle. You are always pushing your limits. Even if it’s long days and hard work, I always take a second to look at the sunset or sunrise and realize how lucky I am to have the chance to see all the beauty of the ocean and its surroundings.
I also love the commercial fishing community in BC. I’ve built really strong relationships with a lot of people I’ve met while I’m fishing.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Being away from my family and my wife is the hardest part. The good side is that when I’m not fishing, I have more time with them. I have to make that sacrifice for months at a time and then I can enjoy every moment with the ones I love.
Any advice for young people entering the industry?
Don’t let anyone make you think you can’t do it. Some boats are hard to work on, and sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment. Don’t let anything break your confidence. If you start second-guessing yourself, that’s when you make more mistakes, and you won’t enjoy anything about this beautiful job.
What’s your favourite way to cook Dungeness crab?
Simply steamed and cooled off in ocean water, nothing else! Save the garlic butter for your bread with spaghetti and enjoy the authentic flavour of the Dungeness crab.